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Feb 16 2010

Salmon run

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Today is February 16 2010
Good morning and welcome to my blog!

Our Prime Minister prorogued Parliament and God prorogued the snow! It’s raining in Vancouver but the Olympics athletes continue to do us proud. Go Canada Go! I didn’t start this blog to talk about winning medals – although sport is important to our culture I started the blog to talk about salmon.

In January, I heard a short story on BC Almanac about Canadian Natives who live up the Frazer River where winter has not been prorogued. Frazer River natives traditionally eat salmon – in fact sockeye salmon is their main source of food – salmon, salmon, salmon but last fall the sockeye salmon did not return past Hell’s Gate so the natives are literally starving. The Government wasn’t returning calls from the Native groups concerning this and the story left me really upset. I called CBC – “what’s being done about this?” I asked. CBC directed me to Mr.Bill Chu.

This was Mr.Chu’s story:
He was visiting a friend in the area who took him where people have traditionally relied on salmon. He saw a small shelter not much larger than a garden shed. There was a bed in it. A basket hung from the ceiling with a baby in it. The man had a couple of hot dogs – the only food they had. Mr.Chu called it “silent suffering”.

He went back to Vancouver, filled a truck with food and drove it there. That was on December 31st.

I said ” If I raise a truckload of canned salmon would you get it there?” Bill said yes.

That is how it started.
I sent 300 e-mails to Members of Parliament. 60 came back undeliverable. Telus thought I was spamming and tied up my login. I had several automatic replies, explaining that our proroguing MPs were out proroguing. Colin Mayes Conservative sent the information to the Minister of Fisheries. Finn Donneley (NDP Fisheries Critic) took the matter to Ottawa. I received a call from someone named Henry who was livid because he didn’t even know about this.

I e-mailed the Shoppers Drug Mart because they sold wild salmon at $2 a can and I asked if they would participate. They put their salmon on sale but they didn’t reply. I spent my $10 senior’s coupon on salmon and my sister pitched in $25. I had 36 cans of salmon – hardly a truckload. I began phoning my tuning customers. They were really supportive. Anna’s Vitamin’s in Vernon set up a drop off box and I e-mailed our local papers. It turned out that in all my e-mailing I got Mr.Chu’s first name and telephone number wrong. Sorry about that.

I e-mailed every BC MLA. Only Vicki Huntington replied. She said she was aware of the problem and knew a lot of people were working hard on that. Cabin 12 Victoria’s Breakfast eatery set up a donation box – (I asked every MLA to donate 1 can of salmon).

People in Lumby and Cherryville and Vernon donated salmon and $90 which I ended up spending at the Super Store because Shopper’s raised their price and Super Store had less salt. I asked the Super Store if they would consider donating salmon but I’ve not had a reply. Last week, Art Manuel delivered 141 cans of salmon to the Siska band it’s not nearly enough but it’s a start. Bill Chu said that the Siska band is trying to get some beef from another interior band – he said the elderly and the children are suffering.

Later on CBC, I heard Mr. Manuel asking the Federal Government to sign onto some treaty for the Native people. I didn’t know much about it really. I’ll get more info on that and blog about it later. I heard that our proroguing prime minister intends to speak up for women and children at the next G8 Conference so perhaps Canadian Natives women and children will make it onto their agenda.

I’ve had a couple of negative comments. One person suggested that the Band leaders had lots of money and were responsible for all the suffering. I said I didn’t know anything about Native financing – it could be possible that money was misspent. I have e-mailed two Native organizations and had no response. If there is a problem with money management that is not my concern.

I’ve heard that Haiti has a corrupt government and has been mismanaging money for decades but we are still helping the starving. There are no food banks or homeless shelters or soup kitchens on the banks of Frazer River, out in the middle of nowhere, ice and snow and even if they had money where would they spend it since there are no shops?

The main thing we need to do is feed the people and find out what happened to the salmon. By law, our Native people have the right to eat wild salmon – if the salmon are gone the people of Canada – represented by our Federal Government are obligated to replace that salmon – it seems quite simple. What if we went to the store and there was nothing to buy? We would be hungry.

Perhaps the Government could truck in salmon from Alaska – they had a good run of fish this year? Why did their salmon return? How much better to get the salmon back in the Frazer River – fix the problem

So, the point of this blog is to bring attention to the disaster of BC salmon – feed the people – figure out what went wrong – then fix the problem. How hard can it be? I’ll post letters from officials. You post your comments and suggestions on what needs to be investigated – and together we’ll go fish.

2 comments

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  1. jj

    Also of note is that salmon can’t return because the demand on rivers are draining them of too much water for irrigation, meaning there is nothing for them to swim up in order to spawn. Hopefully, farmers, FN and the government can work together to ensure a healthy salmon returns in the future; in the meantime, hopefully the BC government can step up and aid this starving community.

    (Information on this: http://www.kamloopsnews.ca/article/20090922/KAMLOOPS0101/309229973/0/KAMLOOPS10/rancher-calls-water-order-attack-on-agriculture

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  2. gordon

    Way to go Priscilla!

       0 likes

  1. Pollution Solution – Feeding our Planet - theXpress

    […] have been on a fishing trip – It began when I heard that people were starving without salmon in BC’s Interior. I didn’t know why there were no salmon. All could think of was feed the hungry people – […]

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